I Feel

Belgium, UK 2005. Dir Jean-François Carly/ SHOWstudio.

Images of split selves are exposed in Jean-François Carly’s video I Feel (2005). Two frames are juxtaposed; the one on the left shows a young man wearing his own clothes, the one on the right simultaneously shows him endorsing clothes from the collection of the Belgian designer Raf Simons. The male models alternate but the structure remains. A voiceover reads the models’ feeling about their transformation from a person to a model.  The commentaries range from “I feel excited” and “I feel good” to “exhausted”, “nervous”, “sick”, “sweaty”… In the left frame, the men appear more relaxed, as if unaware of the camera: one eats an apple, another listens to music, and another drinks coffee. But when they don the designer’s clothes, the change in attitude is immediately obvious. The men assume poses and reduce their natural activities and movements. Carly’ s piece is a visual interpretation of the Lacanian form of mimicry. The model here is divided into two selves, one where signs of personal identity are still visible, the other an object where individuality is diminished. Carly’ s video effectively exposes the masquerade of the pose.